The Incredible Years® Blog


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New Research! The Incredible Years for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Two researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work conducted a study to determine the acceptability and short-term outcomes of the Incredible Years® Parent Program (15- week, preschool basic version) for parents raising preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study utilized a pre-post design (with no control group) reported high parent acceptability of the program. Additionally, total stress related to the child was significantly decreased with intervention effect sizes from moderate to large following program completion (Sarah Dababnah & Parish, 2014). See article abstract on our website.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

Dababnah, S., & Parish, S. L. (2014). Incredible Years Program Tailored to Parents of Preschoolers with Autism: Pilot Results Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 1-14.

A second paper was recently published (S. Dababnah, 2015) reporting qualitative data from individual interviews with parents. Parents reported they benefited most from child emotion regulation strategies, play-based child behavior skills, parent stress management, social support and visual resources. Parents interviews suggested they would like to see  additional vignettes of children with ASD, identify alternative “sensory” rewards and access to visual resources and they also wanted to add more sessions focused on individualized parent self-care and support.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

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It is interesting this study should come out the same year that a new Incredible Years Parent Program for parents of children (ages 2-5) on the Autism Spectrum or with Language Delays was released. This new parent program includes vignettes of parents and children with ASD and language delays, incentives including sensory activities, visual resources, emotional and social coaching methods, pretend play enhancement, ways to promote children’s self-regulation skills and additional family support. The program can be used as a supplement to the basic IY parenting program or offered separately as a 14-week parent program. See below a short overview video for this program!

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Guest Post: How to Create Fun Incentive Bags for Parents

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Guest post by Certified IY Group Leader: Bernadette (Bernie) Donaghy

Gina Biggerstaff and myself (Bernie Donaghy) delivered the Incredible Years® Basic Parent Programme in St Kieran’s Primary School in Colin, Northern Ireland, from March to June 2014. The Incredible Years® places strong emphasis on building positive relationships with children, and play time serves an important role in this.

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Carolyn Webster-Stratton and Bernie Donaghy

“Play benefits children in many ways by providing opportunities for them to learn who they are, what they can do and how to relate to the world around them.” (The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2-8 Years, by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.)

After discussing the importance of play time with children in our parenting class, we wanted to provide parents with something tangible to bring home for this special time spent with their children. We decided to give parents the opportunity to work with a range of art activities and resources, to enable them to fully engage with their children during their play time.

Gina and I used every opportunity to pick up different art resources as we were out and about (beg and borrow). We collected chalk, paper, paint, and more.  We asked local Nursery Schools, Primary Schools, Play Groups and Community Organisations for any unwanted or unused art materials or books. This also gave us the opportunity to publicise and spread the word about our Incredible Years® classes!

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The bags were used as an incentive each week and on completion of the IY Parent Programme we added a toothbrush and toothpaste, a book and a blank jig-saw. The parents loved their resource art bag and they reported that their children really enjoyed their play time together.

To learn more about The Incredible Years® implementation in Northern Ireland, see the recent blog post about this!


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Guest Post: Center for ADHD in Denmark

The Center for ADHD in Denmark implements Incredible Years® Parent Training

Guest post by Tea Trillingsgaard
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No cost and no entry conditions

In Aarhus, Denmark, the Center for ADHD invites parents of young children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties to attend the Incredible Years® Parent Training program at no cost and with no need of referral or diagnosis. And this approach works!

Effective strategy

Results from a new research study in press in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology[1] show that Danish parents who self-refer to free parent training have children with symptom levels similar to those found diagnosed ADHD samples. Furthermore, when benchmarking results from the Danish program against comparable studies by Carolyn Webster-Stratton and her colleagues[2] in recent US studies, the Danish version was as effective with regard to reducing ADHD symptoms, reducing disruptive behavior, and enhancing positive parenting practices. (Find links to articles at the end of this post.)

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The story of Center for ADHD

The Center for ADHD was founded in 2010 by Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, a MsO psychologist and member of the LEGO family, who wished to reduce long wait lists for diagnostic evaluation and increase easy access to parenting support for families of young children struggling with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard also serves on the board of Edith and Godtfred Kirk Christansens Foundation, which supports the center.

What else is going on?

The staff at Center for ADHD consists of a secretary and six psychologists who, in addition to conducting The Incredible Years® Basic program, train and supervise teachers, day care providers, education and social workers and others working with children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Center for ADHD is continually collaborating on research projects carried out at the Aarhus University.

Center for ADHD Staff

The staff at the Center for ADHD, saying hello from Denmark!

[1] Trillingsgaard, Trillingsgaard, & Webster-Stratton (in press). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Click here to read article.

[2] Webster-Stratton, Reid & Beauchaine (2011; 2012): Click here to read article.


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Carolyn and Wally invited by National Children’s Bureau to visit Northern Ireland

Carolyn Webster-Stratton and Wally visit Northern Ireland June 1-5, 2014 at the invitation of National Children’s Bureau (NCB)  

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Wally preparing to give his speech, with Carolyn

NCB Launch Carolyn was so excited to be invited to Northern Ireland this month to help launch the Incredible Years® (IY) Northern Ireland Co-ordination Project. While there, she had the opportunity to meet Ewin Poots, MLA, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety as well as Dr. Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, Public Health Agency. Both of these individuals spoke at the conference about the importance of supporting families by using evidence-based programs that promote positive parenting and children’s social, emotional and academic competence. Carolyn introduced them to Wally Problem Solver and they seemed to enjoy his company. To learn more about the National Children’s Bureau, click here.

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(From Left) Carolyn & Dina Dinosaur, Dr. Eddie Rooney and Wally Problem Solver, Caroline White, Deirdre McAliskey, Celine McStravick, and Maria McAleese with Molly Manners.

The objectives of NCB’s new launch is to promote effective implementation of IY, program delivery fidelity, and group leader accreditation as well as to help agencies monitor and measure the impact of their programs through evaluations. The leaders of this launch are Celine McStravick and Deirdre McAliskey from NCB. Following the conference, a cross agency steering group with administrators of schools, agencies and foundations met to discuss system implementation issues.

Carolyn with IY Ni staff (Deirdre & James)

Carolyn and Dina with James McGinley and Wally

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Molly, Dina, and Wally listen in at the conference!

At the conference, Carolyn gave the keynote speech to a group of IY group leaders and administrators. She talked about the Incredible Years® Parents, Teachers and Child programs, research outcomes, and some of the agency and clinician barriers to successful program delivery. The group seemed surprised to learn that over the past 10 years, 574 IY parent group leaders, 94 child dinosaur group leaders and 64 teacher leaders have been trained. Carolyn presented 8 key building blocks for disseminating the programs with fidelity in the “real world.” When faced with an actual technological barrier to her powerpoint and video presentation delivery, Wally Problem Solver helped Carolyn with calm down strategies and solutions for how to both hold the microphone and speak to the audience with confidence despite being unable to show her carefully edited video clips. As happens with implementation of evidence-based programs, this illustrated how to go forward despite unexpected barriers. She discussed how to overcome such barriers and the importance of delivering the programs with fidelity in order to get the best outcomes for children.

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After some technological barriers, Wally helped Carolyn with “calm down” strategies so she could finish her presentation

Caroline White, Head of CASP Early Intervention, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and an accredited Incredible Years® Parent Trainer, spoke about her successful implementation of the IY program in the Manchester area over the past 15 years area. She provided examples of ways she has addressed each of the 8 building blocks to promote quality delivery. She talked about the importance of an interagency infrastructure that includes administrators, policy makers, and IY mentors to coordinate efforts and outcomes and who are in consultation with the developer and IY trainers.

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From Left: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Caroline White, Maria McAleese

Carolyn with Maria McAleese (IY Mentor for Parent Program)

Northern Ireland is fortunate to have an accredited IY mentor, Maria McAleese (who provides ongoing consultation workshops, coaching and authorized training workshops) as well as an accredited IY Coach and Mentor in Training, Peadar Mckenna. These dynamic individuals have already provided coaching and video review feedback to many group leaders. In the afternoon, Maria and Peadar each led separate groups of group leaders to discuss the training, coaching and support structure and to review their needs. Carolyn joined each of these groups to explain the rationale for the certification/accreditation process and to answer questions.

Carolyn with Peadar McKenna (IY Parent Peer Coach and Mentor in Training)

2nd day of Conference with Consultation Day

This day started with a visit to Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, a community center in Colin to learn about the Early Intervention Community efforts at delivering all the IY programs. The highlight of this event was two parents who talked about their experiences participating in the program.  Carolyn introduced Dina Dinosaur who talked about the dangers of violence and announced the birth of her new baby. Baby dina will be staying at this center to learn about all the ways she can survive by learning to problem solve and make good friends.

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Carolyn with the team at Colin Neighbourhood Partnership

Additionally, parent and child group leaders met to get a preview of what happens on group leader consultation days. Normally, consultation days only consist of 12 participants (6 pairs of leaders) from either parent or teacher or child IY programs, who present selected video clips of their IY groups and receive feedback regarding their personal goals. However, in order to illustrate the value of this approach, more than 30 parent and child group leaders attended to watch 4 group leaders show their video clips and receive feedback. Maria, Peadar and Carolyn took turns leading the discussion of these video vignettes and also led participants in role play practices.

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Carolyn sets up role play practice for group leaders

Issues discussed, modeled and practiced included the collaborative role of IY leader and coleader, how to help a parent work out her relationship with her child’s grandmother, how to trigger spontaneous role plays in conjunction with home activity reviews, effective use of buzzes, how to coach play times to assist children who are developmentally delayed or non interactive, and how to manage children in groups who are off task and not engaged in the learning. While barriers to videotaping were acknowledged, participants seemed to appreciate the value and immense learning opportunity provided from video review and self-reflective learning with peers and with a mentor or coach. Carolyn answered other questions about IY programs such as ways the School Readiness and Attentive Parenting Programs could be used as supplements, accreditation requirements, and the importance of being able to offer more sessions according to risk level of the population. Participants were enthusiastic and supportive of each other and hopefully achieved Carolyn’s “fun” goal.

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Full Consultation day group!

To learn more about the Incredible Years® Programs, visit our website: http://www.incredibleyears.com

~The Incredible Years® Team


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Parent Testimonial: “It does work!”

This past week we received an e-mail from one of our parent group leaders in Colorado. She shared with us a lovely testimonial, written by one of the parents who had just completed a 14-week parent group. This parent expresses her experience with the class, and we wanted to share it with you all!

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Message from the group leader: 

I wanted to share with you this e-mail I received after finishing the Incredible Years parenting program last night. We were so touched by the e-mail that we wanted you to see it. I have facilitated the group for the past 8 1/2 years for a total of at least 17 sessions and I continue to get responses like this one.

Message from parent:

I just wanted to thank you both for the wonderful set of parenting classes that we just finished. At first, when we started, I thought, “Oh My! 14 weeks! That is a long time…”

Then, while we were doing the classes, my thoughts turned into “Oh my! How am I going to remember all this and put it into practice??” 

As we went on, I was feeling sad and deprived if I had to miss a class… it was such a great reminder to stay on track with what we had learned until then, because little by little, each piece of the puzzle was fitting perfectly and it was all starting to make more and more sense…

By week 14, I saw how necessary it was to actually have all that time for all the information provided, to make sense and to be able to learn to apply it. It works…. no matter how reluctant we may have been at the beginning, you won us over. It does work! 

This class was a life changing experience for me. It taught me that being a parent is the most important job in my life and that it was also the one that I had the least coaching, education and training for. Now, I can see how I can help my children become better people. This class taught me that… it made learn and mature and be a better parent, and that is just priceless. I will never be able to thank you enough, never.

I wish that every parent would be willing to do the class and commit to do it, the effort that it takes to do it compared to what you get out of it has NO comparison. Now I feel more confident on how to behave with my kids, how to be a better mother, a better wife and I feel so much happier. Thank you for giving me this gift. It is a wonderful feeling and I very much appreciate it.

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Additional comments from parent:

The way it us all set up with child care and food, it just does not get any better…

The information given and the way it was presented was extremely useful and I got the book to keep reminding me what to do if I ever feel lost. It was absolutely wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone in a heart beat. Thank you for offering this program, it was a treat and joy.

~The Incredible Years Team


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The Incredible Years® in Pediatric Settings

Evaluation of a parenting program for treating children’s early disruptive behavior problems delivered in a pediatric setting. 

In well child visits pediatricians frequently see parents who are asking about their children’s hyperactivity, aggression and defiant behaviors. Such behaviors are a developmentally normal phase for toddlers because they lack the language and self-regulation skills to control their impulses.  However, toddlers and preschoolers who exhibit these behaviors at high intensity and frequency are at risk for continuing this disruptive behavior pattern in later childhood and many parents and caregivers do not have the parenting tools to respond effectively.  These early onset behavior problems are associated with academic underachievement, and confer risk for later life psychopathology including criminality and substance abuse (Tremblay, Nagin, & Seguin, 2004).  Effective early intervention is crucial.

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Unfortunately even though numerous clinical trials, meta-analyses, and consensus guidelines recommend that psychosocial interventions should constitute the first-line approach for treatment of early disruptive behavior problems, the proportion of children receiving evidence-based programs is decreasing (Comer, Chow, Chan, Cooper-Vince, & Wilson, 2013). Children are more likely to receive psychotropic medications, even though controlled trials of the efficacy of this approach for this age group have not been conducted.

Primary care physicians, who see families frequently during a child’s early years, are strategically placed to help parents prevent the development of serious disruptive behavior problems and to expand the availability and accessibility of services by offering evidence-based parent training programs.

A newly published randomized control group trial has tested the efficacy of using the Incredible Years® (IY) toddler parent program in 11 diverse primary care rural and urban pediatric practices (Perrin, Sheldrick, McMenamy, Henson, & Carter, 2014).

Ellen PerrinThis study was conducted by Dr. Ellen Perrin, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician who is Director of Research at the Center for Children with Special Needs and  Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston Massachusetts.

This particular evidence-based program was chosen because of its extensive research and ease of delivery. A recent meta-analyses of  50 studies utilizing the IY program reported its success in improving child behavior in a diverse range of families (Menting, Orobio de Castro, & Matthys, 2013).

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Study Method

Parents were selected for this program based on behavioral screening above the 80th percentile on the Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment Scale. The study sample is characterized as high risk or borderline clinical because children were selected based on elevated symptoms of behavior problems.  A total of 150 parents were randomly assigned to either the IY 10-week, 2-hour parent program or a waiting list control group.  An additional 123 parents were assigned to the parent intervention without a randomly selected comparison group. The parent program was offered primarily by psychologists or social workers in conjunction with a member of the pediatric office staff.  Among the 3 study groups, 54% to 73% completed at least  7 group sessions.

Positive results

Results showed that parents who participated in the IY program reported more change in self-reported parent and toddler outcomes at post treatment than did parents in the waiting list control condition. Analyses of independent videotaped observations of parent-toddler interactions showed that negative parenting, child disruptive behaviors and negative child-parent interactions were lower at post treatment and at 12-month follow-up compared with baseline observations for parents who received the program.  No differences were found for the waiting list control parents at post condition compared with baseline.

The findings are very promising and suggest that offering the IY program as a group model in pediatric settings is a cost effective way of reducing children’s behavior problems and providing secondary preventive intervention (Stein, 2014). (Stein, 2014). The next step is to convince practitioners, who typically see these families in individual treatment sessions, of the value of the group learning model for providing behavioral training for parents of young children and building support networks for their families.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about the Incredible Years® Programs and/or this recent research!

Click this link to read the full article!

If you are interested in learning more about The Incredible Years programs, click this link to go to our website.

References:

Comer, J. S., Chow, C., Chan, P. T., Cooper-Vince, C., & Wilson, L. A. (2013). Psychosocial treament efficacy for disruptive behavior problems in very young children: A meta-analytic examination Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(1), 26-36.

Menting, A. T. A., Orobio de Castro, B., & Matthys, W. (2013). Effectiveness of the Incredible Years Parent Training to Modify Disruptive and Prosocial Child Behavior:A Meta-Analytic Review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 901-913.

Perrin, E. C., Sheldrick, R. C., McMenamy, J. M., Henson, B. S., & Carter, A. S. (2014). Improving parenting skills for families of young children in pediatric settings: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics, 168(1), 16-24.

Stein, M. T. (2014). Group-Based Parenting-Skills training in primary care offices:Are we ready for the challenge? Journal of American Medical Association, 168(1), 7-9.

Tremblay, R., Nagin, D., & Seguin, J. (2004). Physical aggression during early childhood: trajectories and predictors. Pediatrics, 114, 43-50.


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Be our Valentine!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, from Wally, Dina, Felicity, and the Incredible Years staff!

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Watch our fun Valentine’s Day Video, below, or by clicking here!

Also, we sent out a newsletter earlier this week that included a fun Valentine Activity you can do with a group of children, along with some helpful tips for parents and teachers to foster children’s understanding of emotions. You can read the newsletter by clicking here!

 

~The Incredible Years Team